The verb help means to give aid or assistance to. You can help your friend organize a car wash at school by making posters and putting them up all over town.

Help can also mean to serve food or drink––as in, "Help yourself!" But don't serve yourself too much or there won't be enough for a second helping. One last meaning for help is the people hired to provide domestic services in a home. A nanny, a housekeeper, a gardener are often referred to somewhat derisively as "the help," because their job is helping the family.

Primary Meanings of help

give help or assistance; be of service
the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose
abstain from doing; always used with a negative
take or use
Full Definitions of help

v give help or assistance; be of service

“Everyone helped out during the earthquake”
“Can you help me carry this table?”
“She never helps around the house”
aid, assist
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alleviate, ease, facilitate
make easier
assist, attend, attend to, serve, wait on
work for or be a servant to
help as a benefactor
help out
be of help, as in a particular situation of need
be helpful or useful
succor, succour
help in a difficult situation
expedite, hasten
speed up the progress of; facilitate
be of use to, be useful to
care, give care
provide care for
help oneself, often through improvised means
take care of an infant without breastfeeding it
serve as a personal attendant to
attend, look, see, take care
take charge of or deal with
fuss, mother, overprotect
care for like a mother
serve as a nurse; care for sick or handicapped people
act as a servant for older boys, in British public schools
Type of:
back up, support
give moral or psychological support, aid, or courage to

v improve the condition of

“These pills will help the patient”
bring around, cure, heal
provide a cure for, make healthy again
benefit, do good
be beneficial for
restore to good health or strength
Type of:
ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
to make better

v improve; change for the better

“New slipcovers will help the old living room furniture”
Type of:
ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
to make better

v be of use

“This will help to prevent accidents”
Type of:
contribute or conduce to

v contribute to the furtherance of

“This money will help the development of literacy in developing countries”
Type of:
advance, boost, encourage, further, promote
contribute to the progress or growth of

n the activity of contributing to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose

“offered his help in unloading”
aid, assist, assistance
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the act of helping or improving yourself without relying on anyone else
act of assisting or making easier the progress or improvement of something
hand, helping hand
physical assistance
recourse, refuge, resort
act of turning to for assistance
with the help of or owing to
ministration, relief, succor, succour
assistance in time of difficulty
the act of giving temporary assistance
an act of help or assistance
the act of providing something (lodging or seat or food) to meet a need
boost, encouragement
the act of giving hope or support to someone
assistance, such as that provided to an enemy or to a known criminal
aiding the cause or policy or interests of
the performance of duties by a waiter or servant
child care, childcare
a service involving care for other people's children
community service
an unpaid service for the benefit of the public that is performed by lawbreakers as part (or all) of their sentence
community service, public service
a service that is performed for the benefit of the public or its institutions
help desk, helpdesk
a service that provides information and assistance to the users of a computer network
the service of ushering people to their seats
morale booster, morale building
anything that serves to increase morale
comfort, consolation, solace
the act of consoling; giving relief in affliction
adherence, adhesion, attachment
faithful support for a cause or political party or religion
advocacy, protagonism
active support of an idea or cause etc.; especially the act of pleading or arguing for something
the act of sponsoring (either officially or financially)
endorsement, indorsement
the act of endorsing
approval, approving, blessing
the formal act of approving
the act of reassuring; restoring someone's confidence
alleviation of distress; showing great kindness toward the distressed
Type of:
any specific behavior

n a person who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose

“they hired additional help to finish the work”
assistant, helper, supporter
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the Greek courtier to Dionysius the Elder who (according to legend) was condemned to sit under a naked sword that was suspended by a hair in order to demonstrate to him that being a king was not the happy state Damocles had said it was (4th century BC)
Comtesse Du Barry
courtier and influential mistress of Louis XV who was guillotined during the French Revolution (1743-1793)
Sir Walter Raleigh
English courtier (a favorite of Elizabeth I) who tried to colonize Virginia; introduced potatoes and tobacco to England (1552-1618)
Sir John Suckling
English poet and courtier (1609-1642)
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an assistant to a bishop
accomplice, confederate
a person who joins with another in carrying out some plan (especially an unethical or illegal plan)
aide, auxiliary
someone who acts as assistant
attendant, attender, tender
someone who waits on or tends to or attends to the needs of another
bat boy
(baseball) a boy who takes care of bats and other baseball equipment
dental assistant
an assistant to a dentist
deputy, lieutenant
an assistant with power to act when his superior is absent
actor's assistant, dresser
a wardrobe assistant for an actor
event planner
someone who plans social events as a profession (usually for government or corporate officials)
someone who makes progress easier
flower girl
a young girl who carries flowers in a (wedding) procession
girl Friday
a female assistant who has a range of duties
enforcer, hatchet man
one whose job it is to execute unpleasant tasks for a superior
cat's-paw, instrument, pawn
a person used by another to gain an end
birthing coach, doula, labor coach, monitrice
an assistant (often the father of the soon-to-be-born child) who provides support for a woman in labor by encouraging her to use techniques learned in childbirth-preparation classes
an assistant or second-in-command to a chief (especially in a crime syndicate)
fashion model, manakin, manikin, mannequin, mannikin, model
a woman who wears clothes to display fashions
model, poser
a person who poses for a photographer or painter or sculptor
a trained worker who is not a member of a profession but who assists a professional
powder monkey
someone who carries explosives (as from the magazine to the guns on board a warship)
prompter, theater prompter
someone who assists a performer by providing the next words of a forgotten speech
chief assistant, man Friday, right-hand man
the most helpful assistant
secretarial assistant, secretary
an assistant who handles correspondence and clerical work for a boss or an organization
(Church of England) an assistant to the churchwarden; collects offerings of money in the church
foot soldier, subordinate, subsidiary, underling
an assistant subject to the authority or control of another
water boy, waterer
an assistant who supplies drinking water
huntsman's assistant in managing the hounds
one paid to accompany or assist or live with another
artist's model, sitter
a person who poses for a painter or sculptor
a person with subordinate membership in a society, institution, or commercial enterprise
an attendant who takes care of baggage
an orderly assigned to serve a British military officer
bellboy, bellhop, bellman
someone employed as an errand boy and luggage carrier around hotels
bottom dog
a person of low status
bridesmaid, maid of honor
an unmarried woman who attends the bride at a wedding
caddie, golf caddie
an attendant who carries the golf clubs for a player
an attendant who checks coats or baggage
a subordinate who performs an important but routine function
an attendant at the court of a sovereign
the attendant (usually an officer of a nobleman's household) whose duty is to fill and serve cups of wine
decoy, steerer
a beguiler who leads someone into danger (usually as part of a plot)
dressmaker's model
someone who models dresses
a personal attendant of the British royal family
an attendant who is employed to accompany someone
(Middle Ages) an attendant and shield bearer to a knight; a candidate for knighthood
executive secretary
a secretary having administrative duties and responsibilities
a close attendant (as to a scholar)
a young male attendant on a Scottish Highlander chief
a male attendant of the bridegroom at a wedding
lifeguard, lifesaver
an attendant employed at a beach or pool to protect swimmers from accidents
linkboy, linkman
(formerly) an attendant hired to carry a torch for pedestrians in dark streets
an attendant who loads guns for someone shooting game
a male subordinate
matron of honor
a married woman serving as the attendant to the bride at a wedding
nurse's aide, nursing aide
someone who assists a nurse in tasks that require little formal training
hospital attendant, orderly
a male hospital attendant who has general duties that do not involve the medical treatment of patients
a soldier who serves as an attendant to a superior officer
page, varlet
in medieval times a youth acting as a knight's attendant as the first stage in training for knighthood
a youthful attendant at official functions or ceremonies such as legislative functions and weddings
legal assistant, paralegal
a person with specialized training who assists lawyers
paramedic, paramedical
a person trained to assist medical professionals and to give emergency medical treatment
photographer's model
a model who poses for photographers
an attendant who puts pool or billiard balls into a rack
a secretary whose main duty is to answer the telephone and receive visitors
an attendant who rocks a child in a cradle
the official attendant of a contestant in a duel or boxing match
second banana, second fiddle
someone who serves in a subordinate capacity or plays a secondary role
someone who relieves a commander
someone who performs the duties of an attendant for someone else
social secretary
a personal secretary who handles your social correspondence and appointments
young nobleman attendant on a knight
gallant, squire
a man who attends or escorts a woman
amanuensis, shorthand typist, stenographer
someone skilled in the transcription of speech (especially dictation)
flight attendant, steward
an attendant on an airplane
litter-bearer, stretcher-bearer
one who helps carry a stretcher
a fashion model who has attained the status of a celebrity
one who holds up the train of a gown or robe on a ceremonial occasion
(Roman Catholic Church) an administrative deputy who assists a bishop
a regent's deputy
arouser, rouser, waker
someone who rouses others from sleep
Type of:
a person who works at a specific occupation

n a resource

aid, assistance
Type of:
a source of aid or support that may be drawn upon when needed

n a means of serving

“there's no help for it”
avail, service
Type of:
the property of providing useful assistance

v abstain from doing; always used with a negative

“I can't help myself--I have to smoke”
“She could not help watching the sad spectacle”
help oneself
Type of:
forbear, refrain
resist doing something

v take or use

“She helped herself to some of the office supplies”
Type of:
exploit, work
use or manipulate to one's advantage

v help to some food; help with food or drink

“I served him three times, and after that he helped himself”
dish, dish out, dish up, serve, serve up
provide (usually but not necessarily food)
Type of:
cater, ply, provide, supply
give what is desired or needed, especially support, food or sustenance